Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The European Court of Human Rights' Olmstead?

See this press release from the Mental Disability Advocacy Center, which has a link to the court's judgment in what looks like a very important case about institutionalization and guardianship.  The press release begins:
The Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) today delivered a landmark victory for the rights of persons with psycho-social disabilities and intellectual disabilities in the case of Stanev v. Bulgaria. The Mental Disability Advocacy Center and the Bulgarian Helsinki Committee represented Mr. Stanev in his attempts to bring domestic proceedings and at the ECtHR. The London-based NGO Interights intervened as a third party in the case. 
The Court found a violation of Article 5 (1) of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), finding that the applicant was “detained” in a social care institution, the first time that the Court has made such a finding. As Mr. Stanev was legally unable to challenge or seek compensation for his detention, Articles 5(4) and 5(5) of the ECHR had been violated. The Court also held unanimously that Mr. Stanev had been subjected to degrading treatment in violation of Article 3 of the ECHR by being forced to live for more than seven years in unsanitary and unlivable conditions and that domestic law did not provide him any remedy for such violations. This is the first case in which the Court has found a violation of Article 3 in a social care setting.

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